Expedition Overview

Expedition Overview

  • Explore the fabled geisha neighborhoods of Kyoto by bicycle, and participate in a taiko drumming lesson during our Kid to Kid Connection in Tokyo.
  • Discover the wonders of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, and see a remarkable collection of modern and contemporary sculpture at the renowned Hakone Open-Air Museum.
  • Try your hand at Japanese calligraphy and handicrafts; and put on a kimono to take part in an authentic tea ceremony.
  • Stay at a traditional ryokan in Takayama, and visit Hida Folk Village to learn about life in the Japanese countryside.

Itinerary

Itinerary

Neon-lit cityscapes, ancient temples clinging to forested hillsides, and markets brimming with exotic ingredients: Japan is a feast for the senses. Experience an intriguing combination of cutting-edge modernity and time-honored tradition as we explore dazzling Tokyo, elegant Kyoto, and the ancient mountain town of Takayama. Wander through exquisite shrines and palaces where nobles once lingered, ride aboard a speeding bullet train through cedar-draped mountains, and don a kimono to discover the intricate art of the Japanese tea ceremony.

Day 1: Tokyo, Japan

Welcome to Japan! Arrive in Tokyo—one of the world’s most cutting-edge capitals—and transfer to our hotel. Gather tonight for a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.

Meals Included:Dinner
Accommodations:

Hotel New Otani

Day 2: Tokyo

Experience the fascinating contrasts of Tokyo, where neon-lit skyscrapers rise above sprawling parks and ancient temples. Visit the serene Meiji Jingu Shrine, Tokyo’s most important Shinto shrine dedicated to the spirit of Emperor Meiji. Travel by private boat along the Sumida River to Asakusa, enjoying lunch on board. Upon arrival, explore the seventh-century Senso Ji—the city’s oldest temple. During our Kid to Kid Connection, get to know our new Japanese friends during a taiko drum lesson. Discover the ancient roots of taiko in Japanese religion and folklore and pick up a pair of bachi (wooden sticks) to try your hand at drumming.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:

Hotel New Otani

Day 3: Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park

Situated in Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Hakone is renowned for its views of nearby Mount Fuji. Visit the Hakone Open-Air Museum and walk among the 120 masterpieces of modern and contemporary sculpture. Return to Tokyo for dinner this evening.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodations:

Hotel New Otani

Day 4: Tokyo/Takayama

Board one of Japan’s iconic bullet trains for an unforgettable ride by way of Nagoya and through the Hida mountains to the charming 17th-century town of Takayama. Our home for the next two nights is a traditional Japanese inn, or ryokan, where hot spring baths and delicious food offer an opportunity to relax and refresh.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:

Honjin Hiranoya Bekkan

Day 5: Takayama

Explore Takayama’s lively market along the Miya River and meander through the narrow Edo-style streets of the historic district, passing wooden merchant houses and sake breweries. Later, travel to Hida Folk Village, an open-air museum featuring traditional farmhouses and buildings from the region. Watch demonstrations of Japanese handicrafts and make your own sarubobo, or “monkey baby”—Takayama’s mascot. Sit down to a traditional multi-course kaiseki dinner at our ryokan.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:

Honjin Hiranoya Bekkan

Days 6-7: Kyoto/Nara

Ride the bullet train to Kyoto which served as the imperial capital for more than a thousand years. Explore the temples of the Higashiyama neighborhood, including the impressive Kiyomizu-dera, which clings to a steep, waterfall-laced hillside. Test your musical skills during a festive evening of karaoke. The next day, spend the morning discovering ancient Nara. Visit the Todai-ji temple and Kasuga Taisha, Nara’s most celebrated shrine. Wander amid the gardens of Nara Park, home to herds of freely roaming deer.

Meals Included:(Day 6: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner: Day 7: Breakfast, Lunch)
Accommodations:

Hotel Granvia Kyoto

Day 8: Kyoto

Explore Kyoto by bicycle or on a guided walk, visiting two of its geisha districts. Explore the Imperial Palace Park and its gardens where nobles once strolled. Don a kimono for a Japanese tea ceremony, then take part in a calligraphy lesson with a local calligrapher. Enjoy some leisure time in the city, followed by a farewell dinner.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:

Hotel Granvia Kyoto

Day 9: Kyoto

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Meals Included:Breakfast